Monday, November 27, 2017

{7} Days in the Homeland

Oh, Monday.

Let's be honest. I'm a stay-at-home-mom, so Monday usually feels like Thursday or any other random day to me. But this Monday is the first back in Midland after a 7 day sabbatical in the beautiful backwoods of Arkansas.

Our trip "home" started the Friday before Thanksgiving. I say "home" because out of the 4 people in my little family, I am the only one who is actually from Arkansas and thus consider it home. People there will often ask Cash, "When do you think y'all will move back?" He always tells me later, "Avery, do they not realize that is not back for me? I am not from there." Point noted.

So we were a mere 10 miles outside of Midland when traffic came screeching to a halt. For. An. Hour. That was a good start. But the kids ended up doing great, and we finally rolled in at 2 AM. I had taken over driving duties around midnight and felt gas station coffee would do the trick to keep me going those last two hours. It worked! In fact it worked so well that when we got there at 2 I was a jittery mess and stayed up talking to my dad until 4:30.

Luckily, my sister and her kiddos came over the next morning to help with my kiddos so Cash and I could rest up. We had a big day ahead of us, so that was life-sustaining at that point.

Saturday afternoon we went to our sweet Hub sister Abby's wedding. Y'all. I cannot even explain how happy I am for this girl. She is everything I hope AnnLouise becomes. She has the heart of a saint. She is sweet and kind, truly beautiful starting at the very core of her heart. Her new husband is also made of gold. I can't get over how perfect they are together. They are a fairytale.

the beautiful bride and her sweet daddy (and my sweet daddy looking like a bodyguard at their entrance)

We got to see the Hub at the wedding. The Hub is my parents' group of friends. When one of the kids was little bitty, he couldn't say "club". He began calling it the Hub, and it stuck. He's a freshman in college now.

My little Aggie and Mac

eating crumbs, literally what her dad gave her (How do you like that retro highchair compliments of Calvary Baptist-Ozark?!)

The kid has never met a cupcake he doesn't like. Takes after his momma.

My Hub momma Mrs. Helen and my real momma

Cody was getting a drink and heard the lady behind him ripping some coaches. Not missing a beat, he turned around and said, "Ma'am, we're doing the best we can out there." Cody is a roper and owns a trucking company. He also had no clue who the lady was.

a Hub sister Heather

I don't remember life without the Hub. In Midland I have some really cool friends and get to meet people all the time. In my mind I'm always wondering will they be my hub?

Anyway. Beautiful (and freezing cold) wedding. Beautiful people. Beautiful hub.

Straight from the wedding we headed for Mansfield, where my nephew Braeson's team was playing in the Arkansas/Oklahoma River Valley District Championship in football. I can't even contain my excitement as I set out to type this. The game was so fun to watch, and it came down to the last play of the game with 5 seconds left. Ozark (our team) and Charleston were tied, and Charleston had just turned it over on downs. So Ozark got the ball back on their own 20 yard line (for those who don't speak football lingo--that's 80 yards away from the end zone they need to get into).

Braeson, being the QB, got the ball and threw a beautiful spiral about 20-30 yards where his buddy MJ caught it with 2 defenders on top of him. MJ took off down the field, the 2 Charleston kids at his heels the whole way. They finally tackled him..IN THE END ZONE!! Ozark WON!!!

I get it. It's a team sport. But I got to watch my nephew throw a game winning touchdown pass for a district championship. My little buddy Braeson. Gahh. How stinkin' cool.

Ozark fans stormed the field. Seeing how Arkansas's coach got fired less than a week later, you have to understand this may have been the biggest game Arkansas fans have seen all year. They even got a couple of shout-outs on various radio shows.

He was so happy he was crying.

Brae and his sister

one proud Uncle Cash
On Monday we made the scenic drive up to Oark (nope, different town, I didn't misspell Ozark) to eat at the Oark Café. If you are ever in NWA, this is a must do. You can thank me later.

Bumpy & Henry

Nothing like finishing lunch and seeing a horse parked by your car. They did have on orange though. After all, it is deer season.

Tuesday my parents watched the kiddos while Cash and I went up to the Fayetteville/Bentonville area to shop. Then that evening we met one of my high school best friends for dinner. My sweet, dear Natalie Jo. She lights up my world every time I get to hang with her. She is one of those friends that you may not see for 2 years, but you instantly reconnect with when you are together. Everybody needs one of those friends. I'm so glad Nat Jo is one of mine. This is the same girl who pierced my ears in the Agri room our senior year of high school. We've been skinny dipping in the creek, prom dress shopping together when our moms were both too busy turkey hunting to go with us, and took naps in front of Dierks Bentley as he played a VERY small concert at the National FFA Convention. We have done the countryiest of things together, but Nat Jo does it all in leopard print and make-up. You have to love people who can hang like that.

The next couple of days we devoted to Thanksgiving celebrations. I saw someone write a while back, "Why do we get so dressed up for Thanksgiving when we just walk around our house and eat a bunch of food?" I laughed so hard at that, and it is all I can think about at Thanksgiving now.

feeding the chickens

petting the bull

Oh, Dad, when will you learn not to be ridiculous when I'm trying to take a picture?!

Henry got to be a Hillbilly for an hour and visit the new primary school to see where Aunt Sis works
playing with Brother's new toy

somebody has to check the cows
Cash, my sister, my brother-in-law, and I all gave into peer pressure and were consumed into the Black-Friday-but-really-Thursday shopping. I know a lot of people are against shopping on Thanksgiving, but here's the deal: after you eat and visit a bit, there is literally nothing else to do on Thanksgiving day. I don't have a problem with people who do Black Friday shopping. I have a problem with people who don't.

Friday morning we were up bright and early as our friend Kit (she married a Hub brother) came out to the family farm to take pictures. I am going to post some of these pictures, but first I want you to understand why you should hire Kit. Our photo shoot was probably 1 1/2 hours. About 87 minutes of that Henry was crying. Those 87 minutes were not fun for me nor were they fun for Cash. But Kit captured the 3 minutes in there that Henry smiled. And, guys, those 3 minutes were not consecutive. That's just the cold, hard truth about photo shoots with a 2 year old. But I absolutely love the mess out of the pictures.

I met this guy on this blog almost 7 years ago. So much has changed, but the fact that I still think he's the hottest thing that has hit this blog remains the same.

That evening we had Henry's birthday party: a hayride with the Hub and grandparents. Henry is obsessed with 3 things right now: tractors, trucks, and his Bumpy (my dad). He got all 3 that night, and the kid was in Heaven. We had chili in the dutch oven, hot dogs roasted over an open flame, and all the hot chocolate a kid could want on a chilly night. We had the Razorback game going and watched the end of the Bielema era, and Henry got to play until his little legs could barely even go anymore. It was the perfect ending to a wonderful week.
Nana & Bumpy gave him a tricycle

getting all set up-- Bumpy had to move the hayride inside the fence since the cows were eating the hay

no hayride party is complete without a firepit for your chili, hot dogs, and hot cocoa

Bumpy getting ready for the hayride

even Sissy got to help set up

Cash helped too--he kept us up to date on football scores :)

my sister--the only person who wakes up at 7 AM on a Saturday to come watch my kids so I can sleep in

Happy birthday, farmer Henry

Saturday we came home so Cash could get a jumpstart on the week and go into the office on Sunday. It is always hard to leave The Natural State (yes, Dad, it is The Natural State now. It is no longer the Land of Opportunity. Not since 1995.), but it is always good to see those desert sunsets too. After all, there is no place like home.

driving a long 600 miles

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